Drivers 'should spend a year as learners'

4 Oct, 2012 2:39pm Jon Morgan

Insurers call for a minimum L-plate period to make young drivers safer

New motorists should spend at least a year learning to drive before gaining a licence, according to the Association of British Insurers (ABI).

It wants a complete overhaul of the system, with night-time driving curfews and a lower drink-drive limit for new drivers, too.

ABI director general Otto Thoresen said: “Radical action is needed to reduce the tragic waste of young lives on our roads, especially among the 17 to 24 age group.”

The ABI believes the way to ensure the safety of young drivers is to introduce a graduated licence scheme that would impose restrictions on newly qualified motorists for a six-month period.

As well as banning them from driving between 11pm and 4am and having a zero-tolerance approach to blood-alcohol levels, the scheme would also limit how many passengers they could carry.

The ABI also wants to see a ban on intensive driving courses that see students with limited real-world driving experience pass their tests.

Thoresen said: A car is potentially a lethal weapon, and we must do more to help young drivers better deal with the dangers of driving. Improving the safety of young drivers will also mean that they will face lower motor insurance costs.”

According to the ABI, newly qualified drivers are responsible for a disproportionate number of accidents. An 18-year-old is three times more likely than a 48-year-old to be in a crash, it says. And a third of drivers killed in car crashes are under 25.

What do you make of the proposals? Does imposing restrictions on newly qualified drivers make sense? Should people have to spend at least a year learning, regardless of ability?